In the wake of the charges laid against senior CFMEU NSW Officials Darren and Michael Greenfield, the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch today pledged their full support for the elected leadership of the NSW Construction Union.
“This is a political witch hunt, plain and simple” said Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch Secretary Paul Keating.
“The Liberal Government has thrown unimaginable resources at trying to smash the Australian union movement. They created a special national police force – the ABCC – just to target the Construction Union. The Abbot Government set up a whole Royal Commission – the Heydon Royal Commission – which spent hundreds of hours and tens-of-millions of dollars just trying to find some mud to throw”.
In August this year the ACCC dropped a prosecution case against CFMEU ACT Secretary Jason O’Mara after being forced to admit that despite years of investigation and millions of dollars in taxpayers money spent, there simply was not a case.
“The ruling class simply cannot stand it when ordinary people stand up for themselves. The big end of town is raking in billions from the Australian economy. When our unions are strong enough to secure a living wage and job security for ordinary people, it drives this political and business elite into a frenzy. They will stop at nothing to criminalise union activity, try and smash our unions, and destroy Working Class people’s ability to stand up for themselves” said Mr. Keating.
The case against Darren and Michael Greenfield follows a series of raids on the homes and offices of a number of Union Officials last year, including the home of then MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer.
Unbelievably, the stated reason for these raids was police investigating whether the Union had unreasonably pressured companies to donate to a fundraiser for the Sydney Childrens Hospital.
“Last years raids were a political fishing exercise. What we are seeing here is the State, the Police and the owners of some of the biggest corporations currently operating in Australia cynically cooperating to discredit the Union movement. The police used the fundraiser as an excuse to seize every computer, file and mobile phone they could find. They’ve clearly spent months raking through this data desperately trying to find a reason to bring charges, obviously completely disconnected from the stated reason for the raids in the first place”.
“Paul McAleer was at home with his children when a busload of riot police came stomping into his home. Why should ordinary people be subjected to this kind of police intimidation simply for being elected as a representative of their fellow workmates?”
“The conservative media, the Police and Liberals will attempt to portray Darren, Michael and the rest of the CFMMEU as criminals, when the only thing they are guilty of is having the audacity to stand up to elite businessman that own the Sydney construction industry.”
“The charges will be proven false, as they always are. We will not be intimidated by police repression. The leadership of the NSW Construction Union has the full support of the MUA” said Mr. Keating.
For Comment: Paul Keating 0434 290 443